Allegations of improper actions by the correctional staff in an institution are often based upon the requirements of a higher legal authority. To determine if a violation of rights, negligent action, or deliberate indifferent to the inmate’s condition is present in a case, a study must be conducted to compare the actions in the case with the requirements of the legal authority.The primary sources of legal authority that define and describe required actions by staff and officers are found in the following places.
- Constitutional Requirements as determined by landmark decisions by the US Courts
- Constitutional Requirements as determined by State Courts
- Federal and State Statutes
- Professional Standards of Practice
- State Standards found in State Statutes
- Correctional Department Wide Policy and Procedure Documents
- Local Correctional Institutional and Unit level Policy and Procedure Documents
The evidence in the case is often found in the documentation of the actions that were taken prior to, during, and following the incident.
The role of the expert is to conduct the the study to determine the requirements that were present at the time of the incident. The study demonstrates the policy and procedural context that existed at the time of the incident.
The finder of fact, is then better equipped evaluate the actions by the parties in the case and arrive at an informed and appropriate determination of the question in the case.
The case studies conducted by Dr. Lofgreen are appropriate to either the defendant or the plaintiff.
From the defendant’s perspective, the results of the study may be used to illustrate the the factors supporting a good faith effort to perform the action required by the higher legal authrority.
From the plaintiff’s persepctive, the results of the study may be used to demonstrate the alleged failures of correctional staff to follow Department Policy and Procdures, Accepted Standards of Practice or legal requiremts from higher legal authority.